All Out War / Stigmata / A Belgian Band

Derby Vic

July 6 1999

Not sure on the name of the first band. I'm not even going to bother with offering you an excuse for missing most of the set, I was just late. As I arrived, the bloke on the door said, "they're from Belgium and they've got a couple of songs left probably." And he was right. Shame in a way, because although they didn't stand out as anything special, they sounded ok. Ok in the standard very heavy metal wrapped up as hardcore thing, but with the added value of a few sections where they turned into Life Of Agony, especially on the vocals. Maybe I should've actually asked who they were.

No need to ask about Stigmata, because the board at the door had something to do with the words New York hardcore and legendary. Which seems a little over ambitious to me. It feels like anything that comes out of that city and is hardcore and has been around a while, is now legendary. Which it isn't. Fair play, the guy says towards the end of the set that his band couldn't make it, so he came on his own with "some friends", one of whom is one of the guitarists from Merauder. As such they're pretty tight, but didn't really move me in any way apaart from the fact that if you want an evening of listening and seeing live hardcore, then it served it's purpose. Unless you're talking hardcore porn, in which case you're way off the mark!

And so to All Out War, who I've not listened to before. They warm up with the guitarist widdling and peeling off thrash riffs, and the bassist playing some metal noodlings. Then when everything is ready, they start, and it's, well, it's actually full on Slayer based metal if you ask me. Nothing wrong with it, but the comment that "this is a hardcore show, come down the front, don't stand around" seems a little incorrect. It's mordern hardcore, but really, it's metal music dressed up in the hardcore posturing. The bassist however is taking out the front rows, leading in a manner similar to Ian from Stampin' Ground. It's not bad, but again, in a crowded scene, it doesn't stand out enough for me to get me over enthused.

There's a group of about 5 kids who it seems has followed the tour round the country from London. And they give it some. If it wasn't for them, there'd probably have been no reaction down the front, so you have to respect them for that. Especially as they kept it going through all 3 bands. But, it was full on high jumping pirouette, finger pointing, windmilling and what looks like the actions of punching and kicking someone when they're down. It kinda looks impressive, but when the vocalist goes "wake up and join in", well, it's not really going to happen is it. Should you have to be brave enough to stand in there, or athletic enough. It looks and feels like you have to belong to join in. I ain't going there. And the spotlights looked worried as they shake from side to side after being hit by a stray windmilling arm. Bit like how a punchbag goes really. All very visually impressive, but like I said, it's the hardcore posturing. This sort of music 10 years ago was greeted by the headbang and the mosh. Now it's the kick boxer.